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John F. Kennedy Speech, May 25, 1961


Published May 25, 1961


Establishing the goal of sending a man to the moon. U.S. Capitol. Washington, DC.


Source John F. Kennedy Presidential Library
Run time 7:56
Label / Recorded by White House

Notes

A digital copy of this White House recording has been provided by the Miller Center of Public Affairs. For more information on this and other recordings, visit the Miller Center's Scripps Library.

Reviews

Reviewer: knower - - July 20, 2010
Subject: My Favorite as a Science Teacher
This is my favorite speech of ant person. What this speech did was rally America to solve an insurmountably problem. Think what we could do today if we felt this way now. Too often our citizens choose to give up when its hard. It is common thinking that Science and Math are hard and it is OK if you cant do them. I love science because it give me a new and exciting way to view the world. The more I know the more amazed I become. John would be ashamed what our children are doing in science and math. Visit any university and see who is taking the hard classes, not our American child. Shame on us.
Reviewer: Snouty - - December 4, 2006
Subject: Doing the OTHER thing
If you have ever done something not because it was easy but because it was hard, then THIS is where you basically stole the idea from.

The classic speech that kicked off the space race, either in its entirety, or at least way much more than I have ever heard. Lots of additional stuff which I didn't know was part of the same proposals, but very cool nonetheless. What ever happened to that nuclear rocket, anyway?
Reviewer: NEIL CAMERON / 6443 - - April 24, 2006
Subject: JFK's FAMOUS MOON SPEECH
FEW SPEECHES IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY, EITHER BEFORE JFK OR FOLLOWING HIM, HAVE BEEN SO CONSEQUENTIAL TO AND SIGNIFICANT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AS THE SECOND STATE OF THE UNION MESSAGE THAT JOHN F. KENNEDY DELIVERED TO THE ASSEMBLED HOUSES OF CONGRESS ON THURSDAY, MAY 25 1961, ON HIS 126th DAY IN OFFICE. NOTHING THAT JFK DID IN HIS 1037 DAYS AS PRESIDENT RIVALS OR SURPASSES WHAT HE DID ON MAY 25 1961 WHEN HE SET THE NATION ON THE FAST TRACK TO THE MOON AND BACK BEFORE THE END OF THE DECADE.

IT REQUIRED BOTH THE PERSONAL CHARISMA OF A YOUNG AND DYNAMIC PRESIDENT TO JUMPSTART THE LUNAR DESTINY OF THE UNITED STATES ON THURSDAY, MAY 25 1961, AS WELL AS HIS TRAGIC DEATH 911 DAYS LATER ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 1963, TO GALVANIZE THE NATION IN ITS GRIEF TO FULFILL KENNEDY'S MANDATE TO THE NATION AS A NATIONAL TRIBUTE TO THE LEGACY AND MEMORY OF ITS SLAIN LEADER. IT IS NOT TO MUCH TO SAY, THAT, GIVEN THE FICKLENESS OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE AND THE BUDGETARY CONSTRAINTS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, THAT THERE WAS NO GUARANTEE EITHER THAT KENNEDY WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED TO A SECOND TERM HAD HE LIVED, NOR THAT CONGRESS COULD HAVE BEEN PERSUADED OVER A PERIOD OF NEARLY A DECADE TO CONSISTENTLY APPROVE THE MASSIVE EXPENDITURES THAT WERE REQUIRED TO FUND THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM THAT GOT US TO THE MOON AND BACK IN THE PERSON OF NEIL ARMSTRONG. BY HIS DEATH, HOWEVER, KENNEDY DID THAT WHICH HE MAY WELL HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH HAD HE LIVEDÂHE SET IN STONE HIS PERSONAL RESOLVE AS EXPRESSED IN HIS SPEECH TO THE NATION OF MAY 25 1961 (THOUGH HE HIMSELF DIED AND DID NOT LIVE TO SEE ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE APOLLO ELEVEN MISSION FROM BLASTOFF ON JULY 16 1969 TO SPLASHDOWN ON JULY 24 1969), AND MADE IT THE UNDYING RESOLVE OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WHO FULFILLED HIS GOAL IN HIS NAME. AN ANONYMOUS AMERICAN, SPEAKING FOR ALL AMERICANS, IN THE DARK HOURS OF EARLY SUNDAY MORNING, JULY 20 1969 (THE DAY OF THE FIRST MOON LANDING), PLACED A BRIEF NOTE ON THE GRAVE OF JOHN F. KENNEDY. ELOQUENT IN ITS SIMPLICITY, IT SAID: "MR. PRESIDENT, THE EAGLE HAS LANDED". ("EAGLE" WAS THE NAME GIVEN TO THE LUNAR LANDING MODULE THAT TOOK NEIL ARMSTRONG AND BUZZ ALDRIN DOWN TO THE MOON AND BACK UP AGAIN TO THE COMMAND SHIP MODULE.)

IT IS ALL TO EASY TO DISMISS THE EVENTS OF THE SPACE RACE FROM THE TIME OF SPUTNIK IN THE LATE FIFTIES, TO THE AMERICAN LUNAR LANDINGS IN THE LATE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES AS A TIME OF NATIONAL ABERRATION,
WHEN THE WORLD WAS SLIGHTLY OFF ITS ROCKER AS THE TWO GREAT POWERS COMPETED FOR SUPREMACY IN SPACE. SUCH A VIEW, HOWEVER, IS BASED ON IGNORANCE, AND IS SHORTSIGHTED IN ITS RUSH TO JUDGMENT. WHEN WE PLANT A FRUIT TREE, WE DO NOT EXPECT TO SEE THE HARVEST IN A MATTER OF DAYS, WEEKS, OR MONTHS; WE KNOW THAT IT WILL BE SEVERAL YEARS BEFORE THE TREE BEGINS TO BEAR FRUIT.
SO IN THE CASE OF THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM, AND MORE PARTICULARLY, THE MOON PORTION OF THE SPACE PROGRAM (THE NINE APOLLO MISSIONS THAT ACTUALLY WENT TO THE MOON), THOUGH THEY ACCOMPLISHED KENNEDY'S GOAL WITHIN THE TIME FRAME THAT HE HAD SPECIFIED ON MAY 25 1961, THE FULL HARVEST OF THOSE MISSIONS HAS YET TO BE PICKED. THE AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAM OF THE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES MAY SEEM NOW TO BE MERELY A DISTANT MEMORY OF A PECULIAR TIME THAT IS RECEDING WITH EACH PASSING YEAR MORE SURELY INTO THE LIMBO LAND OF FORGETFULNESS. LET IT HOWEVER, BE CLEARLY STATED AND AS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD, THAT THE AMERICAN LUNAR PROGRAM OF THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES WAS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE BOTH AT THAT TIME, AND IS OF FAR GREATER SIGNIFICANCE AT THE PRESENT TIME, FOR IT IS ONLY NOW, WITH THE INSIGHT THAT THE LAPSE OF SEVERAL DECADES ALONE COULD PROVIDE, THAT IT IS NOW POSSIBLE TO REAP THE HARVEST OF THE AMERICAN LUNAR ODYSSEY AND BRING THAT FRUITAGE TO THE SERVICE AND SALVATION OF THE NATION IN SOLVING THE DIFFICULT PROBLEM OF HOW TO COME TO TERMS WITH THE EXTREMIST WING OF ISLAM THAT SAW FIT TO ATTACK THIS NATION ON SEPTEMBER 11 2001, OR 9 / 11 AS IT HAS COME TO BE KNOWN. IT IS NOT THE PRESENCE OF AMERICAN TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ THAT WILL SOLVE THIS PROBLEM, BUT RATHER THE CORRECT AND FULL UNDERSTANDING OF THE DEEP SIGNIFICANCE OF AMERICA'S NINE MISSIONS TO THE MOON, SET INEXORABLY IN MOTION BY JOHN F. KENNEDY'S FAMOUS MOON SPEECH OF MAY 25 1961.

NEIL CAMERON / 6443
Reviewer: Spuzz - - April 27, 2005
Subject: Yay! Nuclear Rockets!
Interesting soundbite which details what procedures America has to do to conquer space. Some which we have done (satellites, Man on The Moon) and some a bit preposterous (nuclear rockets!!). A short listen to, but very informative to give a glimpse of how crazy a time it was when everyone was obsessed with monopolizing space.
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